ue bot icon

Daily Leadership Thought #180 – We Need More Courage And Less Political Posturing

July 25, 2011

Free Politician Holding Loudspeaker Stock Photo

As we start another week with political posturing around the debt ceiling, it has become far too obvious how political considerations are trumping bipartisanship and what’s best for the country.  This is a manufactured crisis.  The government can’t afford not to raise the debt ceiling for many important reasons.  In the past it has been done under presidents from both parties.  Where was all this concern during the last budget negotiations?  Since it is a major election season next year, political leaders on both sides are using the issue as a hammer to beat up on their opposition – how sad, yet predictable.

The question you must ask yourself is, “why did they wait until this point?”  Congressional leaders clearly knew this moment was coming as did the president.    For the last 10 years our politicians have been irresponsibly spending money the country doesn’t have and avoiding tough decisions.  There are obviously opinions across a broad spectrum on why this has happened.  However, neither party is always right or always wrong.  There is certainly enough blame to go around.  What’s most important is how do we responsibly address our economic challenges and move forward.  Demagoguing an issue until the 11th hour is a bit tiresome and unproductive.  People can see through hypocrisy and nonsense.

The only way Washington is going to address our pressing economic problems is to confront tough realities and take more of a long-term viewpoint.  The era of the quick fix is over.  I’m not even sure it should have ever really existed.  Both parties need to set aside their short-term political calculations and put the interests of the country ahead of their own.  In addition, we need leaders who are going act like adults and take responsibility for their actions as well as be up front and honest with their constituents regarding the sacrifices necessary to fix the issue(s).   When you are a debtor nation, you can’t continue to spend your way out of the hole that you’ve created for yourself.  At some point the financial burden becomes unsustainable, as many households have found out over the last three years.

I realize that most people don’t have a high view of politicians.  There is something we all find suspect about people who run for office and seek this type of influence and power.  However, throughout our history there have been great politicians from both parties who stepped up, tackled the difficult challenges, and did the right thing.    We don’t know the names of many of them because unbelievably they were less interested in celebrity and more focused on getting things done.  We need them now more than ever.

Our country must make some difficult decisions and deal with some harsh realities if we are going to sustain our “exceptionalism.”  No amount of political posturing will change this fact.  The current trends are not looking good, and we need leaders who are brave enough to risk their own careers by speaking truth to power.  They must operate from a higher more worthy purpose than their own self-aggrandizement. A democracy without political courage is like a plane that loses a wing in midair; it won’t continue to fly for much longer